American born designer Anna Sui is a highly accredited fashion designer worldwide. Born August 4th, 1964, in Detroit, Michigan to parents who met in the Sorbonne in Paris, France while her dad studied engineering and her mother painting. From as young as 4 years old Anna knew she wanted to be a fashion designer, the influence from her mothers’ artistic talents and styling inspired her to explore her creativity as she sat watching her mother sew. A key moment in Anna’s youth was reading an article in Life, Magazine about the accomplishments of Mia Fonssagrives-Solow, a Parsons School of Design graduate who opened a boutique in Paris with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. This article gave Anna Sui the motivation and passion for her future achievements, starting with moving to New York and attending Parsons School of Design herself.
Her time at Parsons was rewarding, and upon leaving she sought out valuable experience working with sportswear brands and styling models for Steven Meisel shoots. Anna Sui worked for Glenora, a firm which fired her once she had gain attention for her 5-piece collection that was shown at a trade show in New York and ended up being featured in department stores and in the New York Times.
Unemployed with $300 in savings, Anna invested in herself and opened a business from her flat. She earned enough to keep pushing toward her dream, reinvesting any profits straight back into the business and picking up odd jobs for extra sources of income. She aimed to stand among the big names companies of the 80s including Versace and Chanel, which at the time felt impossible but with her determination she knew she could beat the odds.
Deriving her influence from rock music, she became integrated in the punk scene of the time and was influenced by the styling of rock stars. She developed over the years to find new influences, but still used this as her muse. She developed a love of art and history which she has constantly intertwined into her work in order to make each subject make sense.
Anna got the opportunity in 1987 to feature her line in Annette Breindel showroom which gained her a global following and attention. A breakthrough in Anna’s her career was doing a catwalk show, persuaded by long-time friends Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista among others. Her collection received glorious recognition and praise. Within a year she had opened her first retail store at 113 Greene Street in New York’s Soho District. In this year she also won the CFDA Perry Ellis Award for ‘New Talent’. 1993 saw Anna Sui open her first retail store in Hollywood, California is her favourite place. The same year she introduced menswear onto her runway with the help of Mick Jagger. Anna Sui, introduced cosmetics into her portfolio in 1999 with two seasonal collections every year, including everything from makeup, to perfume and body.
After more than three decades giving her time to the fashion industry Anna, has earned multiple awards and notations for her striking collections and determination. She received a CFDA’s Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award which is a high honour to receive. What is so inspiring about Anna Sui is her consistent creative ability to remain true to who she wants to be and show the world. She struggled and persevered to make a which is not only valued at millions of dollars but valued as an inspiration to her determination and hard work which is what the fashion industry needs to highlight.
Anna Sui said ‘’Clothes have to be fun or why bother?’’
Amy Davidson is a newly graduated textiles designer from Scotland, who loves to travel, the colour orange and hairbands in as many colours and prints as she could possibly get her hands on. Her favourite style of print to work with is anything that’s bold, colourful, and tropical!